Biggest Bucks of the Year

June 5th Deadline for Nonresidents to Apply for Iowa Deer Tag

AJ Gall 6.3.2016

Don’t delay!  You only have until June 5th to apply for a nonresident Iowa deer hunting tag or preference point.

If you are a nonresident of Iowa, but would like to hunt in the big buck capital of the world (personal opinion) then you must read on!  Below is all the information and links nonresidents need to apply, draw, and hunt in the sacred state of Iowa.

Tips to Consider When Applying

1 – Talk with your hunting buddies

If you’re anything like me, then you probably want a hunting/travelling partner.  Coordinate with them to make sure you both are applying for the same unit and season.  To apply as a group, you will have to choose a group leader. The group leader will either apply online or call in FIRST to make his/her application. Once he/she has done so, the rest of the group members call in or apply online and provide the group leader’s DNR number (each person will have to know this).

Two deer hunters looking at a map Iowa

If you’re simply applying for a preference point, you do not need to know the unit you plant to hunt and you don’t need to coordinate with your group until you decide to put in for an actual tag.  Just be sure your entire party puts in for a preference point because they will always base party selections off the lowest number of preference points held by an individual within the group.

2 – Don’t Delay!

Depending upon the zone and weapon you choose, you have a pretty slim chance of drawing a tag off your first application.  This means you have to plan ahead for next year, or the year after that, or most likely the year after that.  Point is, you can’t just decide to go hunt Iowa on a whim.  Even if you’re not sure, it’s probably worth applying and building up preference points.

3 – Start Saving

An out of state Iowa deer license comes at a pretty hefty price of $551 (once you are chosen) and that’s before fuel, food, and taxidermy costs 😉 Preference points cost $50 per point.  That’s a lot of unguaranteed money!  If that’s not for you, then I’d stick to hunting your own state or other Big Buck States that are a little more cost effective like Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, or Kentucky.

3 – Do your research

The structure for hunting in Iowa is set up a little differently for nonresidents in that the state is split up into 10 separate permit units.  This means you’re going to want to pull out some maps beforehand to figure out which area you want to apply for and whether you prefer to hunt with a bow or gun.

Online maps will be your biggest friend if you have some travelling restraints.  Check out this great article on how to effectively map deer from your computer chair: Online Maps – A Deer Hunter’s Guide to Success.

Helpful links nonresidents need to apply, draw, and hunt Iowa

Iowa Nonresident Deer Hunting Interactive Map – an all-inclusive interactive aerial map that displays all the public land and WMA’s, along with what zone they are in and what species you can hunt.

Frequently Asked Questions from Nonresidents – pretty much answers any question you may have.

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) of Iowa

Nonresident Iowa Deer Application Instructions – The Ultimate Nonresident Guide.  Apply, buy, and research everything you need to know about getting a coveted Iowa deer tag.

And yes, having lived and hunted in Iowa, it is well worth the experience if you’re an avid whitetail hunter!


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